NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA) — It may surprise you to hear, but Savannah Voorhies says the rise in the number of rape cases being reported at Cal State Northridge does have a positive effect.

“We don’t want to brush it under the rug. We want to make sure it gets fixed. And it’s stopped,” the senior said.  “People are becoming more aware of it and unafraid to speak out about it.”

According to a federally required crime study, there were two reported rape cases in 2014. The following year there were five. And the number nearly tripled last year.

Almost all of the reported cases happened at campus housing. Most involved victims who knew their attackers.

Susan Hua is CSUN’s Title IX coordinator. She says the increase in reported cases is a sign that victims are feeling more empowered to come forward, which helps the school to do better.

“On a national scale, sexual assault and rape are grossly under-reported,” said Hua.

In recent years, the university has ramped up existing programs on assault prevention.

There’s a mandatory online course that faculty and students can’t cheat through.

“You can’t enroll in your classes until you complete it,” said CSUN sophomore Kalyn Olson.

Olson says support is offered at the health center.

And from the Greek system to the classroom – combating sexual assault is discussed regularly.

She says the recent Hollywood sex scandal involving Harvey Weinstein and the Me Too campaign may help more victims step forward.

“I had friends that shared the Me Too on Facebook,” said Olson. “They wanted to share so that someone else could feel OK telling their story about it.”

“It’s not the victim,” said Voorhies. “It’s honestly the perpetrator who should be at fault for it.”


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